Long-Term Disability Insurance Claims and Veterans: How Military Service Can Affect Your Disability Insurance Benefits
Are you a veteran preparing to file a claim for long-term individual or group disability insurance benefits? Were your disability insurance benefits wrongfully delayed, denied, or terminated? Contact the award-winning long-term individual disability lawyers and accomplished group ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw today.
If you’re a veteran, you shouldn’t file a claim for long-term disability insurance benefits without help from a top-rated long-term group ERISA attorney or award winning individual disability lawyers from DarrasLaw. Whether an employer-sponsored, group, or individual long-term disability insurance plan covers you, expect your disability insurer to ask you about your service. Your long-term individual or group disability insurance claim application may ask questions about injuries sustained while serving in the military, as well as your eligibility for veteran’s benefits. This is because long-term individual or group disability insurance companies typically exclude injuries or sicknesses sustained due to acts of war, whether declared or undeclared, from coverage.
Furthermore, your long-term individual or group disability insurance company will not generally cover pre-existing injuries or illnesses.
Managed by nationally renowned disability lawyer Frank N. Darras, who has practiced in this complicated, ever-changing field of the law for more than 30 years, our seasoned long-term individual disability attorneys and ERISA lawyers share a passion for protecting the legal rights of our veterans and service members. To schedule your completely free disability policy analysis and free claim consultation, call DarrasLaw at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online.
Roadblocks That Veterans Must Overcome
The crux of a long-term individual or group disability insurance claim is that, while insured, you were injured or got sick and couldn’t do your occupation. This current injury or illness prevents you from working such that you need to replace your income. If you qualify for benefits, your long-term individual or group disability insurance company will pay you a percentage of your pre-disability salary or hourly wage after the waiting period, as specified in your policy.
Multiple exclusions, exceptions, and disqualifying events limit or prevent claimants from receiving individual or group long-term disability insurance benefits. Military-related injuries and veterans’ benefits constitute some of these exclusions.
Individual and Group Long-Term Disability Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions
According to the Veterans Administration (VA), the most common disabling conditions linked to past or present military service include:
- Hearing loss
- Loss in range of motion
- Chronic back pain
- Lung conditions
- Cancers caused by exposure to military-grade toxins
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic brain injuries
Although every individual or group long-term disability insurance policy is different, you generally cannot obtain full disability insurance benefits for pre-existing conditions. A “pre-existing condition” is defined as an injury or illness you either sought or should have sought treatment for before you became a policyholder. For example, if you were in a car accident and hurt your back two weeks before your policy took effect, you can’t just hold off on seeking treatment until after your individual or group long-term disability pre-existing clause expires; because most policies say if a reasonable person would have gotten care or treatment the pre-ex provision would preclude payment.
On the other hand, let’s say a tick bit you the weekend before your current long-term individual or group disability insurance policy took effect. You have felt fine, but during the coming weeks you start to experience serious joint pain and a fever that prevents you from working. If you did not experience any symptoms before your long-term individual or group disability insurance policy took effect, maybe this Lyme disease diagnosis may not constitute a pre-existing condition. The same may prove true for military-related illnesses and injuries.
Worsening Pre-Existing Conditions
Our award-winning long-term individual disability lawyers and outstanding group ERISA attorneys often get asked, what happens when pre-existing conditions get worse and then you can’t work? For example, what if you’re managing your PTSD, but it begins to worsen with time? The condition was technically pre-existing, but not to the extent that it prevented you from working—until now.
The same is true of cancers caused by exposure to toxic substances. What if your military service exposed you to radiation or chemicals, but you didn’t develop a related cancer until working in the private sector years later?
If your pre-existing condition did not prevent you from performing the important duties of your occupation until recently, consider having a medical professional reevaluate your symptoms. Afterward, consult an experienced long-term individual disability lawyer or nationally recognized ERISA attorney from DarrasLaw, and you may find that you qualify for long-term individual or group disability insurance benefits.
However, expect a fight. Your individual or group disability insurance policy is typically held by a for-profit corporation looking for ways to save money by wrongfully delaying, denying, or terminating your long-term disability insurance benefits. If there’s a chance your disability stems from a pre-existing condition, you may need to make a case that you didn’t put off treatment, didn’t have treatment, and any other reasonably prudent person wouldn’t have gotten care or medications either.
Disability Insurance Benefit Offsets
One of the primary snags veterans hit when applying for long-term individual or group disability insurance benefits is how veteran’s benefits interplay with your disability insurance claim. Remember, your disability insurer is making sure you’re getting a specified percentage of your monthly salary or hourly wage. It often doesn’t care where that percentage comes from, which is why your group disability insurance policy likely has offsets provisions.
This means your group long-term disability insurance company may offset income you receive, whether from the VA due to a previous injury or illness, or disability lawyers.
Let’s say you receive $2,000 a month in benefits from the VA because you suffered from a military-related disability. You choose to work and earn $3,000 a month at your new occupation, bringing your total monthly income to $5,000 per month.
Your individual or group long-term disability insurance company, however, may only cover income replacement for your current occupation. If you suffer another disabling injury or illness, your group long-term disability insurance company might subtract your VA benefit from the monthly income you earn at your current occupation.
For example, even though you made $5,000 a month in pre-disability income, you only earned $3,000 a month at your current occupation. Your group long-term disability insurance company may offset the $2,000 a month you receive from the VA from the $3,000 a month that you currently earn from working. That may entitle you to only $1,000 a month from your individual or group long-term disability insurance company.
Beware if you receive any of the following, as your group long-term disability insurer may try to enforce an offset clause in your policy:
- VA benefits
- Income from a settlement or third party judgment from a lawsuit
- Lost-wage benefits from a car or property insurance policy claim or lawsuit
- SSDI benefits received by an immediate family as a result of your disability
- Worker’s compensation benefits or state paid disability insurance benefits
Our Top-Rated Long-Term Individual and Nationally Renowned Group ERISA Disability Insurance Attorneys at DarrasLaw Protect America’s Veterans
If you’re a veteran suffering from a disabling illness or injury that prevents you from performing the important duties of your regular occupation, call DarrasLaw’s experienced, nationally recognized disability attorneys or group ERISA lawyers today. If you suffer from a pre-existing injury or illness, or can trace your disabling injury or illness to your time in the service, we may be able to help. Our compassionate group ERISA attorneys and award-winning disability lawyers can evaluate whether you’re entitled to benefits under your individual or group disability insurance policy, explain the potential for disability offsets, and help you answer the confusing questions on your disability claim application.
Our founding partner, Frank N. Darras, and his firms have recovered nearly $1 billion in wrongfully delayed, denied, and terminated insurance benefits for his clients, and we want to help you. Schedule your free, no-obligation disability policy review and free claim analysis today by calling us at (800) 458-4577 or contacting us online.